Archive for Apr, 2019


Flooding in

The easterly element in the winds has brought in spring migrants a-plenty.

On this weekends tour into Essex we found several returning birds. Among the Hobby, Arctic Tern, Common Terns, House Martins, Swallows, Sand Martins, Yellow Wagtails, Sedge Warblers, Blackcaps, Garden Warbler, Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs there was a very confiding Little Ringed Plover. However the icing on the cake had to be the 7 or 8 daytime singing Nightingales we saw.


Ghost amid the trees

30 years ago walking over the marshes it was easy to get excited by something white amid the heat haze in the distance. Little Egrets were rare then and Great White Egrets were even rarer. More often than not after a trudge through calf ripping sweda it was a white plastic bag flapping in the wind. So every time I see something white now it’s instinctive to have a really good look at it just to eliminate anything inanimate first!

Walking down the Werribee river last month we saw in the distance something white among the branches of a tree on the opposite side of the river. As I lifted my bins to look at it I was half expecting it to be a plastic bag or at best a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo. I was surprised to see it was a raptor. It had yellow legs and a yellow cere so I knew it wasn’t a full albino; maybe it was a bird lacking some pigmentation. It had the look of an accipiter hawk about it. However it was Tania that put a name to it. Pale phase Grey Goshawk. What a superb looking animal.


Blue Velvet

Looking for an entrance into a reserve in the Blue Mountains I pulled us into a dead end street. I parked up and we consulted the oracle … Google maps. As we mused over which way to go next a bird flew low over the road in front of us; we disagreed as to its identification. It had settled inside a low thick pine. We waited. When it eventually made a reveal it has spontaneously multiplied into three birds. When we finally got a good look we decided they were female/immature Satin Bowerbirds.

We’ve all seen wildlife documentaries showing Bowerbirds collecting blue objects. Satin Bowerbirds are no exception. Blue items to match their saphire blue eyes.



Looking Here Looking There

Last month Tania and I went to the Blue Mountains for a long weekend. We wanted to see King Parrots and Rock Warblers. Rock Warbler is the only New South Wales Endemic. It is the only bird to occur nowhere else but in the state of NSW.

The weather wasn’t the best but the landscapes are to die for. Lots of deep wooded valleys and precipitous rock escarpments in some big wild horizons.

For Rock Warbler we traversed several deep and steep trails into and out of thick rain forest to see the little red breasted devil; with no joy. We walked miles. It was only on our penultimate day than we found two hanging around the area where we’d parked the bloody car! … and just to rub it in they were all over us like a cheap suit. Typical.

King Parrot proved much more elusive however and we were eventually beaten by the weather with some persistent rain. Still … something to go back for!


No room at the Inn

The one thing I never ever tire of is the mammals of Australia. Last month I managed to get quite close to a mother Eastern Grey Kangaroo carrying a Joey. Just how big can these guys get in the pouch!


Wash & Brush up

Looking towards the end of the beach I could see birds roosting on distant rocks. They were far too far away to photograph.

Tania and I were visiting friends to the east of Port Phillip Bay later in the day and had decided to take a look along the coast in the afternoon to see what we could find. The tide was coming in and I knew the roosting birds would have to move or they would get their feet wet. All we had to do was wait and the encroaching water should push them closer to us.

There was a selection of species that settled a little nearer. This Crested Tern was among them. It was enjoying a wash and brush up after a hard days fishing.


Fancy a bite?

Walking along the Werribee River a couple of weeks ago I struck up a conversation with a ground worker who was, with colleagues, trying to eradicate brambles – they are considered an invasive weed in Victoria. We had something in common in that the guy was a ‘Pommie’. He’d been in the state for around 20 something years. When I told him I was photographing wildlife along the river he asked ‘Would you like to see a snake?’ Never one to turn down a chance to photograph anything remotely wild I stated I would. He pointed to the branch hanging over the path and calmly stated that the entwined reptile was a Tiger Snake.

Now I know a little about Ozzie snakes because I’d prepared myself up-front when I started visiting Australia. The main thing you need to remember when walking through the bush in Victoria is keep an eye on where you’re stepping and what you’re brushing up against. It’s no good skipping along with gay abandon as if you’re on a path from  Larkrise to Candleford. All snakes in Victoria bar one are poisonous. There are things lurking that can kill. The Tiger Snake is the third or fourth most dangerous snake in the world. Even this youngster deserves ultimate respect. … I used a long lens!!

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Apr 2019


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